1. Hitting a wild animal
As more cars travel the open road during summer, the risk of hitting a deer, moose or other wild animal increases. It’s important to be “an active and observant driver” at all times, says Dan Bleier, a spokesperson for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers need to understand the type of area they are driving in and be aware of any signs or markings indicating the possibility of animal crossings,” he says.
Collisions occur more often than you may realize. State Farm, the largest insurer in the United States, estimates there were 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles in the U.S. between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010—up 21.1 per cent from five years earlier. Comprehensive car insurance coverage will reimburse you if your car is damaged after such a collision. If you don’t have comprehensive, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
To lower the risk of hitting a wild animal, turn on your high beams and be extra cautious from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight. These are the times when you are more likely to encounter deer along the roadside, according to Michele Harris, director of Traffic Safety Culture for AAA Auto Club South.
Don’t forget to wear your seat belt, which could save your life if you are unlucky enough to crash into a large animal. In any type of crash, “wearing your safety belt is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself,” says Russ Rader, spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
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